Review

Team Rodent: How Disney Devours the World

by Carl Hiaasen



If Carl Hiaasen's dream is to be banned forever from Disney World
TEAM RODENT is surely the stuff dreams are made of. Tough, acerbic,
raunchy and funny, Hiaasen serves up Mickey Mouse and his warm,
fuzzy colleagues en brochette --- heads, tails, and polyester
whiskers.

"Disney is so good at being good that it manifests an evil;"
Hiaasen writes, "so uniformly efficient and courteous, so
dependably clean and conscientious, so unfailingly entertaining
that it's unreal, and therefore is an agent of pure
wickedness...Disney isn't in the business of exploiting Natures so
much as striving to improve on it, constantly fine-tuning God's
work."

In an attempt to dispel the feel good fuzziness invoked by Disney's
Fantasy Land, Hiaasen draws back the curtain and exposes the wizard
behind the hype. Michael Eisner, aka Insane Clown Michael, is the
CEO of Disney Productions, aka Team Rodent, and in charge of it
all. From land grabs in the 1960s, to a more recent failed attempt
to turn the Manassas National Battlefield in Virginia into a well
sculpted "America Project," Hiaasen quotes local planners who call
the mega-corporation "arrogant, demanding, aloof, confident,
efficient, powerful, successful and profitable" in their methods of
operation.

TEAM RODENT maintains a presence in eleven countries on three
continents.  The theme parks have drawn more than one
billion visitors.  An astonishing list of companies owned
or controlled by Disney includes television network ABC, several
cable channels, Monday Night Football, syndicated shows such as
Regis and Kathie Lee and Siskel and Ebert.  Eleven AM
radio stations and ten FM stations call Disney boss, seven daily
newspapers and endless numbers of spinoff commercial enterprises
from software, sports franchises, real estate holdings, retail
stores, housing developments, shopping centers and within the year,
a cruise line fatten the rapidly expanding coffers of the Disney
Empire.

Yet, Hiaasen admits, some people get rich --- very rich, when they
follow in Mickey's footsteps. Eisner exercised company stock
options in December of 1997 to the loony tune of $565 million. In
the Manassas case, which was resoundingly vetoed by area
landowners, historians and environmentalists, the debate continues
on whether the ultimate decision to keep Disney out was the correct
one.  The questions were more quality of life than
economic, however, and as Hiaasen says, "Enough Orlandos,
already."

Hiaasen has long been an investigative reporter and more recently a
columnist for the Miami Herald. For fans of his South Florida
mysteries, there can be no question whence comes the grist for his
creative mill. His six bestselling novels skewer developers,
tourist attractions and local politicians as the arch
villains.

Just 83 pages long, TEAM RODENT is brief, pithy, entertaining,
informative, and because it's Hiaasen, often downright hilarious.
Team Rodent won't dissuade me from taking the kids to Disney Land,
but after a peep behind the curtain, I'll know where my money is
going.

Reviewed by Roz Shea on January 23, 2011

Team Rodent: How Disney Devours the World
by Carl Hiaasen

  • Publication Date: May 5, 1998
  • Genres: Nonfiction
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0345422805
  • ISBN-13: 9780345422804